Last week I spoke alone into my phone for 35 minutes ..

I had been asked by Ambrosetti (masterminds behind Italy’s business conferences) to give a webinar on the impact on brands and some ideas for how to manage them ‘afterwards’…. « si con piacere » I replied – perhaps a little quickly. How can you genuinely come up with something useful, simple & comprehensible today ?

I have been grateful to others who have educated & informed me over the past weeks. It was my turn to do some work and risk a point of view. A chacun son tour !

As Laurent-Habib said in his interview last week in Le Figaro, communication will be one of the levers that will help companies back into movement, and that brands will need to examine and probably adjust their positioning and messaging in order to engage correctly. I agree with him.

Here is a takeout of the conclusion to last weeks webinar, and 9 considerations that may impact communication & brand strategies in the coming months:

  • 1.    consolidation of the shift from shareholder to stakeholder economy is here, and the implications are multiple for business & communication strategies going forward. The value chain of all companies are impacted by the active engagement of teams, clients, business partners and investors. 
  • 2.    Reputation, that previous ‘nice to have’ is clearly a strategic asset. It will mean that the consideration of reputational impact will move up the strategic planning discussion «what will be implications of this decision on our reputation.. » will become a wise question to ask earlier in a decision making discussion
  • 3.    Talk … but above all ACT, as Nicolas Bordas wrote this weekend in his post. Brands who have understood the necessity of action during the crisis are the clear winners. De-correlating words from actions will be a real reputational risk.
  • 4.    Social impact of business and social value creation will move centre stage in terms of responsibility & expectations of stakeholders. Environmental impact, which dominated the responsibility space may slip into a close 2nd place for a short while.
  • 5.    Will we continue to operate inside the same competitive paradigm? Will it still be ‘the best IN the world’ … or will we move to a new paradigm “to be the best FOR the world »?
  • 6.    The role of the state, its vast refinancing of companies and the economy will mean many more public-private partnerships in structuring the economy and providing services. How will this new paradigm impact the competitive field, the nature of the objectives beyond the ‘pure financials’ and the inevitable change in vocabulary & messaging?
  • 7.    What will the new ‘decency’ be?  what will it look like? what will in talk about?
  • 8.    For companies that have not yet set their ‘purpose’… it is going to be the moment to do so! And for those who already have their purpose defined it will be necessary to go back and check its relevance.
  • 9.    Timing is going to be tough – not too fast … but not too slow either!

Louise Beveridge